The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) signed a SEK3.5bn (£280m) contract with Saab on December 16 to upgrade Sweden's fleet of JAS 39C/D Gripen multi-role fighters.
A myriad of upgrades are included in the contract, with the relevant work scheduled to take place between 2023 and 2029. The deal also allows the FMV to put forward additional upgrade orders within the first year.
As part of the upgrade, Sweden's current JAS 39C/D fleet will be fitted with the more advanced GE Aviation/Volvo Flygmotor RM12 (F404-GE-400) afterburning turbofan engine, which will help to enhance the Gripen's flight performance envelope. The multi-role fighter will also receive an updated and more effective electronic warfare system, combined with a new weapons payload capability.
In addition, the legacy Gripens will be integrated with Saab's PS-05/A Mk 5 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which will provide the JAS 39C/D fleet with a more advanced and increased detection and tracking range. According to Saab, the platform will also receive an "upgraded and future-proof" avionics system, which will permit faster software updates for sensor functions, among other things.
This upgrade will enable the Swedish Air Force's legacy Gripen fleet to become much more compliant with the latest generation of fighter aircraft being fielded in the battlespace. The awarding of this upgrade contract is fitting as it was signed with a rationale to enhance the interoperability between the legacy JAS 39C/D with the more modern JAS 39E/F - the latest variant of the Gripen family - which will soon enter operational service with the Swedish air arm.
Commenting on the contract award, Jonas Hjelm - head of Saab's Aeronautics division - said: “This upgrade will provide the Swedish Air Force with a significantly stronger fighter capability. The contract is a big leap ahead in terms of radar performance and functionality, both for the hardware and software, and will future-proof the operational capability of Gripen C/D.”
On the same day, Saab announced it had received a contract to maintain and support the Swedish Air Force's Gripen fleet from 2023 to 2025. This contract come with an option for the Swedish Armed Forces to place further orders for support and maintenance until 2027. This package includes the provision of spare parts, aircrew and ground support equipment equipment, along with repair and training services. Work to carry out this additional maintenance contract will be provided by Saab at its facilities in Arboga; Gothenburg; Huskvarna, Järfälla; Linköping and Östersund.